Part of the impetus for this blog was that I was probably posting way too many food photos to Fbook and Instagram. I’ve always loved cooking and I’m doing it a lot for myself and to share with others. On the days when I can’t cook for my family or friends, posting the pics seemed like a way to share with people.
It’s probably irritating to some people. I like people’s food posts, but what do I know? I get inspired to see what others are up to in their kitchens or out at restaurants.
My mom is an avid reader of cookbooks and has always enjoyed reading recipes and cookbooks for recipes she will never make. I, too, look at several food blogs regularly. I used to print recipes all the time and then they’d just collect dust somewhere in my house. I’ve learned so I don’t print, but I still save a lot of recipes to my computer “just in case.” You never know when you’ll need an idea or a little inspiration. Day to day, most of my cooking is just me in my kitchen messing around to see what develops.
Except baking. For baking, I’ve always used recipes. Maybe it’s the chemistry. The ratios. I know enough to know that I do not have a clue when it comes to baking. I’m not one of those baking geniuses that can just throw things together and it comes out great. If I’m baking, I’m going to someone’s recipe. I might tweak it. But I have a basis from which I’m working.
More controversial than posting your food photos? Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s been saying a lot of nonsense lately, but I guess we’re all skewed by our own lives. I get her “goop” newsletter but most of the time I’m deleting it, knowing that I’m not ever going to visit the restaurants and hotels she mentions. She does it in a way I don’t find accessible or particularly fun. But even she can come up with a winner now and then.
Enter apple cake. A specific apple cake recipe from Tamra Davis, a woman Gwyneth interviewed for the newsletter back in the late winter/early spring. I forget. I can’t really tell you anything about the interview other than at the very end there was an apple cake recipe that seemed super easy, super yummy.
A simple apple cake. Loaded with chunks of apple from two apples. Nuts of your choice – did it with pecans and with walnuts. The simplest batter. Almost nothing to go wrong.
I made a simple post to Fbook:
I wish you could smell this!! My kitchen smells sooooo good. Deliciously simple apple cake to take to a friend’s dinner, but I really want some NOW!
It got lots of traction on Fbook. Lots of likes. Several requests for the recipe. I was surprised that something so simple could resonate with so many people. Lots of people seemed to think it might be good.
I made it several more times. Took it to parties and meetings. It’s good for dessert. It’s suitable for breakfast. Everyone seemed to really love it.
So, if you’re a timid baker, this might be the recipe for you. I think the “goop” link may have been removed. When possible, I like to send folks back to the source, but since it seems to be gone, here it is:
TIME: 1 hour approx. including baking time
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ stick or 2 ounces butter, melted
- ½ cup applesauce
- 1 egg
- 1¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups chopped apples (or two large apples)
- ¾ to 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease your baking dish. Mix the sugar, butter, applesauce and egg together with a hand mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Blend the wet and dry ingredients and then add the apples and walnuts. Pour into baking dish and bake for 30 to 50 minutes (depending on your pan and oven temp) or until knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
My advice on the recipe: be sure to check it at the lowest time and then keep an eye on it. In my oven, it cooked in about 40-42 minutes. If you assume 50 minutes, it would have been among my kitchen disasters. I think I could have gotten away with taking it out earlier, but I liked the flavor from a little more browning. It’s great “as is” or with a little whipped cream — even the stuff from the can!
Also, it’s not at all temperamental. I didn’t use a hand mixer. I just threw in all of the wet ingredients, added all of the dry ingredients, and stirred by hand. Simple.
Cooked well, it’s bliss. And it will make your kitchen smell like heaven!